Sunday’s episodes of The Last Dance focused on Michael Jordan’s departure from and return to the Chicago Bulls and what happened during his absence and then his return.
A lot of it was very powerful - director Jason Hehir said he was “shocked” that Jordan signed off on some of it - not least of all the shot near the end of Jordan sobbing on the locker room floor.
Hehir and his team have done a tremendous job on this documentary. It’s been immensely interesting and satisfying. Yet there’s one thing we wish they’d touch on and hope it’s not left out.
We’re referring to Dennis Rodman’s mastery of Shaquille O’Neal and specifically when he dominated him in the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals.
Rodman was 6-7, maybe 6-8 and topped out at 220 lbs. O’Neal was 7-1 and 325. So call it a half-foot and a 105 lb. advantage.
Rodman always played well against O’Neal but was just brilliant in Game 1 in 1996. The Bulls put Luc Longley on O’Neal in the first half but in the second, Rodman picked him up - and O’Neal, as massive and powerful as he was, could not deal with the Worm’s magnificent defense.
It was a stunning turn by Rodman. His odd behavior defined his public image but as Jordan and The Last Dance pointed out, he was a student of the game and in incredible shape.
As this video shows, he also had immense heart and courage.